Pilot Program To Allow Busses In Breakdown Lane On I-93

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A new pilot program starting Wednesday will see buses from the MBTA, Merrimack Valley RTA, and Logan Express using the breakdown for travel on a section of Route 93.

The test program will see empty busses driving in the breakdown lanes on I-93 between the connection with Route 95 and Somerville. Busses will run going southbound in the morning and northbound in the evening.

The purpose of this program is to test to see if using the breakdown lane during peak traffic times could help alleviate congestion and improve the performance of the public transit system.

The MBTA's Route 354 bus, which travels from Burlington to Downtown Boston, sees delays of up to 15 to 20 minutes due to traffic, according to the MBTA.

"We're going to be starting by training our operators out in the field," Wes Edwards of the MBTA said in a meeting discussing the plan.

"[They will] understand how to avoid the rumble strips, what the speed differential is, and how fast to travel when there is congestion so they can know what's there to get them comfortable,"

Busses will drive in the breakdown lane at no more than 35 miles per hour, which will allow bus drivers to identify cars or objects that are in the breakdown lane, according to the MBTA.

Other motorists will still be able to use the breakdown lane during this pilot program. Busses will be able to merge out of the breakdown and back in if there is something blocking them in the lane.

WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports.

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